Transformers UK: Issue #304
Story 1: In the National Interest (Part 3)
Story 2: The Human Factor (Part 3)
Back-up strip: GI Joe The Action Force
Cover date: 12th January, 1991
Writer: Simon Furman
Artwork: Will Simpson, Dwayne Turner (stories), Johnson, Bambos & Boutell (cover)
Rating: Art / Story
Synopsis:By Omega Steve
Circuit Breaker and Starscream square up for a rematch with Hector Dialonzo a pawn in their game.
Hector Dialonzo is a man gifted with the ability to channel the natural elements around him into a weapon. He is also a man in a lot of trouble. Having tangled with the Air Strike Patrol a few days earlier, his powers were exposed for all to see on the national news. The world also saw him nearly cause the deaths of his fellow refinery workers as he reacted out of fear by unleashing thunder, lightning and molten lava against the hostile Micromasters. This, and the fact that he is in the United States illegally, has made him a wanted man. The influential businessman GB Blackrock has offered him a way out if he is agreeable to joining an elite anti-Decepticon team that Blackrock is assembling, and so it was that Hector came to be sitting in a bar in Florida awaiting the arrival of his benefactor. Josie Beller, alias Circuit Breaker, reached him first and invited him to join her quest to destroy the Transformers, and Starscream had ripped the roof off the bar hoping to persuade Hector to aid in his quest to overthrow Scorponok and lead the Decepticons.
Starscream peers through a gaping hole in the ceiling and reaches in to try to grab his quarry. Circuit Breaker drags the startled Hector clear and then fries the Decepticon's hand with a burst of cackling electricity, before flying outside to finish the job. Starscream recognises her from their original encounter (back in issue 34) but to Circuit Breaker this is just another unmemorable robot to be destroyed. She starts pulling apart his circuitry from within, causing Starscream to cower in pain, but then a volley of laser fire zaps her and she hits the deck. Presumably the mystery saviour is the Decepticon Shockwave who has been observing the goings on from a distance. Starscream looks around but can't see anyone so he resumes his search for Hector, just as Blackrock's helicopter hovers into view. It is time for his Neo Knights - Rapture and Thunderpunch to do their thing. An irritated Rapture tells GB to refrain from giving orders as she's had her fill of men telling her what to do, then flies outside and mesmerises Starscream into seeing visions of him standing triumphant over fallen Autobots and executing Scorponok to claim his place as Decepticon leader. While he is distracted, Thunderpunch leaps, his hands and feet glowing, and bounces off the ground and then KOs Starscream with a mighty punch.
Hector takes a backseat in this issue, leaving it to Circuit Breaker and the other Neo Knights to showcase their stuff. We finally learn what Thunderpunch and Rapture can do, and for all their mutual loathing they actually make a pretty good team. No explanation is given for how any of them got their powers or how Thunderpunch can drop 30 feet, bounce up again and deck a Decepticon without breaking his limbs. His power is more a case of straightforward brawn, and I find myself being more interested in Rapture's unique abilities. I could be wrong but I don't think there is anyone else like her in the Marvel universe, whereas you might compare Hector/Dynamo to Storm from X-Men or Thunderpunch to the Hulk or the Thing. I also enjoyed the little reference to issue 34, some six years previous to this comic, showing a good grasp of previous stories from the writer - it is to be expected of course, seeing as Furman has been with the comic since issue 14. We also get an explanation of how Circuit Breaker does her breaking, by linking herself to a Transformers internal systems and pulling circuitry apart, presumably through a combination of electricity and magnetics. However I am not so sure that she could take a blast from Shockwave and simply go down intact - surely a being of flesh and blood would be toast. We learn later that she has shielding, but lets not forget that Shocks once defeated five tough Autobots including Prime by blasting them into unconsciousness.
I've noticed that Furman seems to have slyly ditched Starscream's Pretender shell. It debuted with long drawn out fanfare some 50 or so issues ago and has not been seen since. Lets not forget that it was because of his enhanced strength that Scorponok took him back, and now seems to have discarded his winning advantage. I guess, like most readers, Furman preferred the original Starscream to his Pretender version, so has paid his dues to Hasbro and now shelved the shell! So far there have been no Autobots featured in the story, other than the anonymous robots who appear in Starscream's Rapture-induced visions, so this is one of those rare but often enjoyable Decepticon fests. I don't like the cover though - it looks awful to say that three people worked on it.